Monday, April 9, 2018

What Marketers Can Learn from Bon Jovi's Record Setting CD with Ticket Offer

Bon Jovi

In the weeks leading up to Bon Jovi being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they continue to make news. They announced a spring set of concert dates and a re-released their latest CD, This House Is Not for Sale with two new songs. Concert ticket purchases included a code for a free CD or download of the album.

This value-added promotion (a popular trend by artists since 2004) shot the album to #1 on the Billboard album charts with 120,000 sales. This was 15 months since it originally debuted at #1 (with a similar ticket bundling promotion)…setting a record for the longest gap between stints at #1. The following week, Bon Jovi set another record as the CD plummeted to #168 becoming the biggest drop in chart history with only 5000 sales. Who did they beat for this dubious honor? Themselves. They set the record for the biggest drop after their first chart-topping week as well.

Even with the slide in sales the second week of both of these promotions, marketers can learn some things from the bands' approach to this bundled offer. Value-added offers or bundling can be very effective promotions for companies. In the case of Bon Jovi and other bands, there are several aspects that make their offers especially appealing.

Win-Win Offer

Bundling a band’s new CD with a ticket purchase is truly beneficial for both the fan and the band. A band like Bon Jovi is going to sell the concert tickets either way. What most rock bands struggle with these days is CD sales (or digital download purchases). When offered as part of the purchase, a lot more fans are exposed to the new music.

Marketers looking to create their own value-added offer need to make sure they’re offering something that buyers will value AND can help drive the company’s business goals. Don’t just throw in the crappy tchotchkes you have lying around. Things like gift cards with purchase offer value to your customers, but it doesn’t necessarily bring more value to you.

Wording of the Offer

How you word the offer is important to how customers may perceive the value of the additional item. In the case of Bon Jovi, the CD is “included” in the price of the ticket. Stay away from wording like “free with purchase.” Either way, they’re paying the same price, but consumers tend to value something they know they’re paying for more than a free item. Therefore, they’re more likely to redeem the offer for the CD (and listen to it) because, in their mind, they already paid for it.

Words like “bundle,” “package” or “value-added” imply that part of the cost is going to the additional item even if there is no option to pay a lower price without the CD.

Spreading the Word

Third party verifications or endorsements are very effective tools for selling. In this case, Bon Jovi returning to the top of the Billboard charts gave them additional publicity they wouldn’t have gotten without the offer. People that are on the fence about buying the CD might be persuaded when seeing that it hit #1. Even the news of its record-setting drop the following week can serve as a reminder to fans to go purchase the CD.

In addition, the influx of sales offers more opportunity for fans to comment on the CD on social media and other platforms that can spur additional sales. Marketers need to include these promotional tools to help further the message and encourage their customers to engage with them on social media. Ask your customers what they think of your value-added item. Help spur conversations that extend the reach of the offer.


Not only does offering the CD help spur sales, it helps fans experience the new music. The longstanding joke with rock concerts is that playing the new song(s) is a cue for fans to head to the beer line or go to the bathroom. If bands can get the CD to fans to listen to before the concert, they might stick around when they play the new songs.

Especially in the case of Bon Jovi, who are diving heavily into the new CD on this tour, getting fans familiar with the new music is going to directly affect how much they enjoy the concert. This is also the first CD and full tour without guitarist Richie Sambora, so there may be fans who are apprehensive about what they might be getting with both the concert and CD.

Overall, as the big concert ticket prices continue to be in the $150 range, adding a CD to the purchase offers more value to fans. Especially if it’s a CD they would buy anyway, and if it’s good (if you want my thoughts on Bon Jovi’s This House Is Not for Sale, read my review for Decibel Geek), fans will feel like they’re getting more for their money.

What are your thoughts on value-added offers…whether it’s for concert and CD or any purchase? What are some other win-win examples that you’ve seen? Share it in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading. If you enjoy this post, please share it on social media.

Monday, October 2, 2017

What If You Could Build a Fanatical Audience: A Content Marketing World Recap

Content Marketing World 2017

A few Fridays ago, I woke up excited. Why? Because the new Foo Fighters CD was coming out that day. I couldn’t wait to buy it. It’s the same excitement I’ll feel when I get to see them in concert (and they better not skip Cleveland this tour!).

Being a huge rock music and Foo Fighters fan, these are the types of things that I anticipate. You may have a different band you follow. Or maybe you’ll be first in line for the new iPhone or next Star Wars movie. Whatever it is, we all have certain brands that we’re fanatic about.

How do rock bands (or other brands) get to the point of having fans that are this passionate about the content or products they release? They create them. They build their audience by making content (music). They’ve been doing it forever. Their able to monetize their audiences in different ways…CDs, downloads, concerts, fan clubs, VIP packages, etc. Now, marketing is finally catching on…or catching up.

The power of building and monetizing your audience has always been a theme of content marketing, but it had an even bigger focus at this year’s Content Marketing World in Cleveland. It’s also the basis for the new book Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose (you can get more information about the book itself here). 

Are We Missing Opportunities?

Joe Pulizzi - Content Marketing World

As Joe Pulizzi kicked off the conference, he led with the overarching question that led to the thought process that led to the concept of the book:

“What if everything we know to be true about marketing is actually what’s holding back our business?”

What if there’s more? What if there are opportunities with our marketing that we can’t see because of what we think we know? Pulizzi gave the example of George Lucas giving up an extra $1 million to direct Star Wars to secure the merchandising rights. 20th Century Fox couldn’t see beyond ticket sales as a way for movies to make money. As of 2015, Star Wars merchandise has brought in $12 billion vs. $5 billion in ticket sales.

The key is for companies to build and develop their audiences by creating remarkable and relevant content. Then, find multiple ways to monetize your audience. Robert Rose’s presentation included how to begin to calculate a value of your audience. The main point of both of their presentations and the book is that the marketing department can be a profit center for companies. To get there, we need to kill the marketing we know to discover a new model.

Content marketing is what will lead brands to develop their audiences. In fact, according to the latest research conducted by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 90% of marketers who feel their content marketing is effective focus on building their audience.

But, more content is being produced than ever before. With so much content available, how do you stand out to be able to build your audience? Many of the subsequent sessions helped to answer that question. The following summarize some of the main themes to help your content stand out.

It’s Never Been Easier to Be Average

Jay Acunzo Illustration - Content Marketing World Presentation

Jay Acunzo talked about ways to make your content stand out. Many marketers are looking for answers from influencers or best practices from successful companies. But, best practices are what worked yesterday. He explained that when you tell a group of marketers that that 3pm on Tuesday is the best time to publish social media posts, that time is no longer the best time to publish your posts.

Instead of looking to others for answers, we need to be willing to create our own answers. Create our own best practices. This is how you stand out from being average or publishing the same content everyone else is publishing.

Break Marketing Conventions

Doug Kessler explained that there are strong, invisible conventions in marketing. We may not realize we’re following them, but consumers recognize them. Once they recognize them, their internal barriers go up. It’s our job to recognize the barriers and break them when we can. Content marketing offers opportunities to go against many of the conventions (although, people are starting to recognize the conventions in content marketing too).

What types of conventions should we break? Here are a few examples:
  • Instead of hiding your weaknesses, openly share the areas where your product falls short. This practice builds trust with your customers. It surprises and delights while signaling your confidence in the areas where you excel.
  • While data is always important in marketing, you also need to know when to follow your gut. Kessler gave the example of SEOMoz’s Whiteboard Friday. The data said to kill it for three years. But, they knew they were on to something that would resonate with their viewers.
  • B2B marketing copy has always been stiff and formal. But, marketers are realizing that even in B2B, they’re still talking to humans. So, the new voice is much more conversational and personal.

Be Writers First. Marketers Second.

Ann Handley discussed how content needs to be created and written based on customer needs. It should never start out as something that we create for the sake of creating. What are customers asking and how can we use content to answer it?

Instead of rushing to get a ton of content out there, we need to slow down. Less content that offers more value is better than more average content. Quality is better than quantity. 

Above all, make sure that you’re proud of the work you publish. If you wouldn't want to read it, would anyone else?

Content Marketing World App

Most Content Fails

Only a third of marketers say their content is effective. That means that the rest are failing…and acknowledge it. According to Jay Baer, content fails when it’s not relevant enough to trade time for the information. Furthermore, those that say they’re too busy to read your content are really saying that it’s simply not relevant enough.

How do you fix your content to make sure it’s relevant to your audience? There are four areas to put your focus:
  • Content Topics: Understand who your personas are, where they are in the sales funnel, and what questions you need to answer to get them to the next stage. You can do this by talking to your customers or the departments in your company that talks to the customers. You can also mine your analytics, social media comments and search data.
  • Content Format: Think like a TV network. Create a content strategy by building a calendar of consistent, thematic “shows.” This helps to condition your audience to know when to expect new content.
  • Content Messenger: We tend to trust people more than brands. Mark Schaefer touched on this notion in his session as well. He mentioned a movement towards people caring about products not because of a brand, but because of the “hands that made them.” If your brand created your content, be sure to put a person in front of it.
  • Content Amplification: We all would love to give our content an extra boost. But, we need to recognize what content we should be amplifying. Instead of putting more promotion behind mediocre content, we should amplify our good content. Baer explained that we should try to make our sixes into nines, not twos into sixes. He summed it up best by saying “No amount of money can add relevancy to mediocre content.”

In the music industry, new music comes out all the time. Bands have to attract attention, build their audience and get them to spend money if they’re going to make. We’re in the same battle in content marketing. Following the advice above will help your content stand out. And, when you build your audience through remarkable content, they’ll look forward to the content you produce. They might even be as excited as I was to get the new Foo Fighters CD!

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please share it! 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Follow Me on Social Media During Content Marketing World 2017

Hello, all my content marketing friends! Content Marketing World is here as we all make our way to downtown Cleveland this week. Welcome to everyone visiting from out of town. 

In my guest post, Content Marketing Advice: Always Jump Where Your Friends Are, I write about the benefits of face-to-face interactions at Content Marketing World. I’d love to meet you, so feel free to come right up and introduce yourself (if I don’t come up to you first). 

I'll also be posting quite a bit on social media. Whether you're not able to make it and want to follow along to see what we're learning or if you're there and want to see what's going on in other sessions, I want to make it easy for you to follow me. 

Here are links to my social media profiles. Feel free to follow me on any or all of them (during and after the conference):
My schedule is below so you can see what sessions I'm in and will be posting about and the times. If you're at the conference, please come up and say hi or send me messages. Also, I'm from Cleveland, so if you have any questions about the city or need any recommendations for places to go, I'm happy to help. 

Tuesday, Sept. 5
  • 7pm: Opening Night Reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Wednesday, Sept. 6
  • 8am: Welcome to the Content Marketing Revolution - Joe Pulizzi
  • 8:20am: Keynote – Imagination at Work: Lessons in Storytelling from GE – Linda Boff
  • 8:55am: Keynote – Be the Exception: How Brilliant Marketers Find and Follow What Makes Their Stories Different in a World Full of Average Content - Jay Acunzo
  • 10:15: SEO and Content Marketing – An Advanced Look at Measurement - Andy Crestodina
  • 11:20am: Exceptional Content: Challenging the Conventions of Content Marketing - Doug Kessler
  • 12:20pm: Creative Without Data is a Shot in the Dark – Rita Prosyak Drucker
  • 1:45pm: How Two Champion Professional Sports Teams Rock Social with Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and More – Joel Hammond and Brandon Jirousek
  • 2:50pm: Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age – Mark Schaefer
  • 4:15: Content Marketing Awards Presentations and Announcements – Stephanie Stahl
  • 5:05pm: Keynote: How to Build a Dominant Media Brand One Day at a Time – Casey Neistat
  • 7pm: #CMWorld Twitter Chat Meetup
  • 9pm: Mega 80’s at House of Blues!
  • 10:30pm: #CMWorld After Party
Thursday, Sept. 7
Friday, Sept. 8
  • 8:00am: How to Build and Maintain an Audience with a Remarkable Email Newsletter – Scott Monty
  • 9:00am: Writing Secrets from Productive and Prolific Writers (the Jerks!): How to Create Better Content When No One Has Enough Time – Ann Handley
The schedule is subject to change. You never know when an opportunity may present itself!

Thanks for following me and I hope you find the information I share to be valuable. As always, you can also check out my blog, Taking it Back ( I'll have a recap post of my experience at Content Marketing World a few days after the event. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Kill Your Marketing to Make It a Profit Center

Killing Marketing Cover

When will we learn as marketers? We play an endless game of cat and mouse chasing potential customers with annoying ads. With DVR’s, people fast forward through commercials. So, we make commercials that can promote the product even at high speed. Video On Demand became another ad-free option...except for network channels. Their On Demand programming includes ads...and they disabled the fast forward option. 

Websites offer pop-up ads when you visit a page, when you move your cursor a certain way, or when you’re about to leave a page. There are banner ads all over the place. Google searches offer more ads than actual search results. Social media feeds regulate what posts you can see from your friends and family, but cram in more and more ads. It’s no wonder customers install pop-up blockers and ad blockers.

But then we find a way around those…or some websites restrict access if you block their ads! South Park even made fun of the whole practice in an episode in which they created a character who was really an ad. The joke being that it was the latest way around ad blockers. 

When are we going to wake up? It has to stop. Rather than waste our energy on more ways to annoy people with ads, why don’t we listen to what they’re telling us? THEY DON’T WANT OUR ADS!! Not on TV. Not on the Internet. Not on their smart phones. 

Wouldn’t it be better to focus our messaging on the people that are actually interested in consuming it? Wouldn’t it be smarter to provide helpful information instead of plastering “Buy This” messages everywhere? 

No surprise I’m talking about content marketing. In addition to creating content, you’re developing an audience to which you consistently deliver relevant, useful information. But what if you could take it one step further? What if you could transform your marketing to develop multiple revenue streams from you audience? So much so that you turn the marketing department from a supporting function into a profit center for the business? 

A Better Way For Marketers

This is the basis for Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit, the new book by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. It builds off their past books, most notably Pulizzi's Content, Inc. and Rose's Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing (co-written with Carla Johnson), and moves the notions forward. 

With content marketing, successful marketers are changing. Instead of using advertising to pull in attention, they're speaking directly to consumers. Killing Marketing tells you how to monetize your audience in a way that makes your marketing department a profit center for the business.

Killing Marketing Quote

Once you’ve built a loyal audience, you can add revenue streams based on what they need. As Pulizzi and Rose researched companies having success with content marketing, they realized the new marketing business model is now the same as the media business model: Create an audience and sell to that audience. 

Your audience relationship can create many lines of value including:

  • Competency: Use data to understand more about your customers.
  • Campaign Value: Create supporting transactional, promotional efforts to keep you top of mind when your audience is ready to buy.
  • Customer Value: Create more loyal, valuable customers through content.
  • Cash: Generate direct revenue through marketing programs that monetize your customer relationships.

Monetizing Your Audience

Content Marketing Institute Visual Strategy

Content Marketing Institute (CMI) built their revenue model around their daily blog. It follows Walt Disney's model that centers around animated and live action movies. As CMI increased their blog subscribers, they were able to add revenue streams. These focus on four buckets:

  • Events: Content Marketing World.
  • Digital: Benefactor sponsorships, This Old Marketing podcast, email list rental, webinars, white papers, virtual events, etc.
  • Print: Chief Content Officer Magazine.
  • Insights: Online training, advisory services, research, Content Marketing Awards.

There are 10 ways to drive revenue from your loyal audience:

Direct Revenue:
  • Advertising/Sponsorship.
  • Conferences and events.
  • Premium Content: Direct-for-sale, funded, syndicated.
  • Donations.
  • Subscriptions.

Indirect Revenue:
  • Products.
  • Services.
  • Recurring customers.
  • Yield increase.
  • Cross sales.

Making the Transition

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose

Making this type of departmental (or organizational) change is a hard and long process. How do we do it? Pulizzi and Rose’s solution is to kill marketing as we know it. Then, rebuild the strategy to create valuable customer experiences with every interaction. The marketing team should build and manage the experiences the same way they do products. 

The companies that are succeeding have these common skill sets:
  1. Create engaging events that inspire subscription. Instead of placing “stop” points along the buying journey that slow the process, remove as much friction as possible.
  2. Be meaning-driven, not data-driven. Understand what data you need and the emotional aspect of it. Why do customers give you their data?
  3. Organize for agility, not speed. It's not about how fast and how many times you can get your message out. It's about being where your customer needs you to be when they need you.

These traits manifest themselves in the content. Content needs to be a strategic function of the business. Make sure you have the right strategy in place and that your content follows it. State your hypothesis and start with big picture questions. Then, get more focused and specific.

The New Marketing Is Within Your Reach

I know what you’re thinking: This is all great, but how do I actually do it? Well, I can’t tell you everything. Otherwise you’d have no reason to buy the book. And buy it you should! Not to sound like Yoda, but this book is a must read for all marketers and entrepreneurs. Through a plethora of examples, advice and steps, you’ll learn how to transform your marketing. You’ll begin to see the many opportunities you never knew were there…just like the $12 billion foresight George Lucas had with Star Wars merchandise!

As they note, Peter Drucker said "Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business." This version of marketing is in reach. They explain how to kill the function of marketing, so you can rebuild it to be more powerful than ever. 

Stop spending the budget you work so hard to secure on ads that people go out of their way to ignore. Start investing in building an audience that looks forward to your content, and will happily pay for new ways to engage with you. Kill your marketing today!

Thanks for reading and if you like this post, please share it!

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

NBA Marketing Has a Huge Problem

Lebron James Resting

As a kid, I was a huge Lakers fan. My favorite player was Magic Johnson. Growing up in Cleveland, they played here once a year. I was lucky enough to go once or twice to see Magic play live. I can only imagine if my parents had paid for us to go and Magic didn’t play. Not because he was injured, but because he needed to rest. That would have been unheard of.

These days it’s becoming commonplace. In a recent game, the Cleveland Cavs held out LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on a nationally televised game in their only road game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The week before that the Golden State Warriors sat Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala against the San Antonio Spurs.

The trend started a few years ago with the San Antonio Spurs. Gregg Popovich, knowing that his players were aging, would rest Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker for certain games during the season. It raised a few eyebrows but didn’t cause the huge stir we’ve seen these last couple weeks.

Lebron James with Coffee Cleveland Cavs

So far, LeBron James has missed five games due to rest, three of which included Irving and Love. That’s five games in which fans paid to see the NBA’s best player only to watch him sit on the bench. Don’t get me wrong. Injuries are always a risk when you buy tickets and you have no control over it. But, this is just rest.

Individual Teams vs. the League

The biggest reason this story blew up is because the rested players issue affected two nationally televised games on ABC two weeks in a row. Given that ABC/ESPN are paying $2.66 billion per year to show the games, it becomes an issue when the league’s best players skip these games. Ratings go down and that means less money for everyone, except the NBA…at least for now.

The Cavs believe they’re doing the right thing to keep their stars primed for a deep playoff run that they fully expect to end with another championship. But, the league as a whole has obligations to fans, TV networks, advertisers, etc. Who’s right here?

Big picture, the league is right. Individual teams are thinking short term championships, but in the long run, it hurts the NBA. Due to the ridiculous amount of money ABC/ESPN is paying to carry the games, as well as other revenues, the salary cap is at a record high of $94.1 million.

The Impact

From a marketing perspective, this can easily turn into a nightmare. The NBA is a players league. The marketing is based on the players and superstar matchups. That’s much harder to promote if you don’t know if the superstars will play.

What happens if teams keep holding their star players out to rest:

  • TV ratings go down: Without the superstars playing, the marquee matchups ABC/ESPN hope will be ratings gold become unwatchable 30-point blowouts. People stop watching. Ad rates go down. ABC/ESPN loses money. So, when the next TV contract deal comes around, they don’t want to pay as much to show the games. The result is the NBA loses money.

  • Ticket sales go down: NBA ticket prices are expensive. Families spend a small fortune to take the kids to see their favorite players. If there’s a growing risk that teams are going to rest their top player, what happens to the value of the tickets? Are you going to spend hundreds of dollars to take your family to a game if there’s a chance the three best players are going to sit?

What players need to realize is that if NBA loses money, the salary cap will decrease and eventually they won’t make as much money. That probably won’t affect today’s players but could have a huge effect 5-10 years down the road...especially if the trend grows.

To his credit, Adam Silver made a statement warning teams of significant penalties if they don’t follow league rules for reporting injuries. He understands that upsetting the fans and the league’s partners is bad for business. He needs the owners to get it. But, penalties will only go so far, especially when you have owners that are willing to spend any amount of money to win a championship.

What's your take? Do you have a problem with NBA stars sitting out to rest? What do you think the league can or should do about it? Tell us in the comments below.

Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please share it!

Main Image Source: Keith Allison via Flickr

Monday, March 6, 2017

How to Make Your Business Come "Alive" Like KISS

Kiss Alive Album Cover

For the first time, Taking It Back is featuring a guest blogger! I'm excited to share this post by Josh Womack. He came to me with a great idea for a post that I wish I would have come up with. Enjoy! 

They’re one of rock’s most recognizable faces. With black and white kabuki makeup and a lengthy tongue, KISS has survived for four decades – but not without struggles.

KISS launched their careers before the age of social media. They earned fans with blood (literally), sweat, tears and a whole bunch of pyro. They put out albums, toured and then did it all over again.

The obstacles were plenty – critics dismissed them, club owners didn’t understand them and initially, album sales were lax. Finally, they came "Alive."

A band is like a small business. You learn as you go. And if you listen to your customers, you can learn AND grow.

Various members and musical trends have knocked them down, but KISS always gets back up. And with seven-inch boots, they continue to stand tall.

You can stand tall, too. As a business owner, entrepreneur or marketer, KISS’ story should remind you that grit, consistency and reevaluating your strategy can take you to great heights.

Be like KISS and get your business to rock and roll all night and profit every day.

Consistent Content

Kiss Debut Album cover
KISS put out their self-titled debut album on February 18, 1974. Despite TV appearances on ABC’s In Concert and The Mike Douglas Show, the album didn’t take off. So, KISS poured everything they had into their live shows – no matter if it was for 300 or 3,000 people. They marched through the Midwest, breathing fire, spitting blood and giving live performances to which fans couldn’t wait to tell their friends and family about.

How does this relate to you, the entrepreneur? Like KISS, it’s important that you pour everything into your product and customer experience. For the band, it was the notion that the crowd got more than their money’s worth. Your "live" experience for the customer is a combination of a good product with even greater service. You want the message, and your brand awareness, to spread.

With KISS’ self-titled debut selling poorly, their label, Casablanca Records, urged the band to get back into the studio quickly. The label wanted a Top 40 hit that would break the band into the mainstream.

Kiss Hotter Than Hell Album cover
KISS’ released their second album, Hotter Than Hell, on October 22nd, just eight months after their debut effort. The only single from the record, “Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll” failed to chart. Sales were lackluster, but a new album meant a new tour – and most importantly, new fans. 

KISS soon realized their live shows were special. That’s where the connection was made. The crowd reactions fueled their desire not to give up.

When you’re building your following or fan base, look for trends. What creates a positive customer reaction? Is there an emotional connection they’re having to what you’re selling or how you’re interacting with them?

Third time’s a charm?

Kiss Dressed to Kill Album cover
With the band’s label nearing bankruptcy, KISS put out their third album in just 13 months! Dressed To Kill was released on March 19, 1975 and featured the band dressed in suits going for a classy, but crazy look. More importantly, the album featured what would eventually become their signature anthem: “Rock and Roll All Nite”.

Dressed To Kill did slightly better than Hotter Than Hell, but still not the big break the band or label needed. Did they pack it in and go home? No, of course not. They did what they do best – got back on the road to build their following.

At this point it’s important to recognize what you do well – and better than everyone else. Play to your strengths. For KISS’ it was touring. They put all their energy into the live experience. For you it may be blogging, email newsletters or any other form of engaging content your fans or customers find helpful and relevant.

It’s Alive!

Kiss Live in 1975

Think of it as a rock and roll Hail Mary! Knowing that KISS was connecting with the now popular KISS Army, Casablanca had an idea: What if we gave the ‘live’ experience to KISS fans in the palm of their hands?

The label knew there were a ton of fans at the shows, but not the album sales to match. A live album could be the bridge to bring the band closer to the faithful KISS Army.

To capture the ‘live’ feeling, the band recorded three shows between May and July of 1975. They were smart enough to pick crowds that had been the most loyal as well: Cleveland, Wildwood (NJ) and Detroit – which would later inspire one of their most popular songs, Detroit Rock City.

Alive! was released on September 10, 1975 and took off like the freight train that was a KISS concert. The grittiness of the sound and the crowd noise are what fans wanted all along.

The album landed KISS their first Top 40 hit, and their now-signature anthem and concert closer. A live version of “Rock and Roll All Nite”.

The album went gold, then platinum, then double platinum, then triple platinum! The rest is rock and roll history.

Keep ‘touring’

KISS knew touring was key and in the years before social media, there was no substitute for getting in front of people.

Find out what your version of ‘touring’ is. It could be a presence at a quarterly trade show or attending one networking event a month.

In building Laugh Staff, my touring consisted of pitching journalists on story angles, guest blogging to build our SEO, and of course, writing funny speeches that people would love – and tell their friends about.

It all adds up. KISS did a cover of the band Argent’s song "God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You II" and one of the verses sums it up perfectly.

“If you wanna be a singer or play guitar/Man, you gotta sweat or you won’t get far/ Cause it’s never too late to work nine-to-five."

Josh Womack is the head writer for Laugh Staff, where he writes hilarious wedding speeches. He’s also a copywriter for Progressive Insurance and a card-carrying member of the KISS Army

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Content Marketing Hits and Misses

Valentine's Day Content Marketing Hits and Misses

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, many brands try to play the role of Cupid. But, instead of arrows, they create Valentine’s Day-themed content to pierce the hearts of prospective lovers…I mean, customers. Unfortunately, also like Cupid’s arrows, they sometimes miss their mark.

When a brand’s content hits it target, we fall in love with the brand. When it misses, we dismiss the content or, worse yet, turn on the brand and dislike it. The following are the best content hits and misses meant to celebrate the day of love.

The Hits #SoThisIsLove

Disney #SoThisIsLove

Imagine being a Disney fanatic and being able to work for the company you love! That’s what happened for many of Disney’s employees. With its #SoThisIsLove promotion, Disney showcases four employees. They share stories of their love for specific aspects of Disney:

The stories interesting, and Disney ties them back to relevant products we can buy. No company does merchandising better than Disney, and this is another example.

Pokemon Go Valentine’s Day Event

The Pokemon Go craze has long since fizzled, but there are still plenty of die-hard players. Their Valentine’s Day event offers features that excite them to chase the characters. Special “pink” Pokemon are available and even reward players with double candy. Plus, the lures are available for six hours. Lure modules increase the number of Pokemon available for capture at a Pokestop.

As the Forbes article says, this event won’t bring in many new players, but will be popular with current users.

The Miss

Hallmark Valentine’s Day Ideas

Hallmark got it wrong. I repeat: Hallmark got it wrong. How can that be with a holiday that is tailor-made for them? Actually, in several ways. The biggest reason is their Valentine’s Day page is focused too much on selling. You’ll scroll through six categories before you find non-sales related content.

When you finally get to some useful Valentine’s Day content, their blog post setup is odd. They have an intro, then the share buttons with a weak CTA. Then, they offer the heart of the blog post, but it’s easy to miss. The topics are good, but the results are inconsistent:
  • Love Quotes: This section works well with 15 love quotes that could be from their cards. It’s not clear if they are, but I’d guess so.
  • Kids Valentine’s Day Party Games: Another nice post with 14 games and puzzles to download.
  • Love Letter Tips: This was a huge letdown. Maybe I’m just used to expert writing advice from the likes of Ann Handley, but these tips will get you nowhere.

To top off this miss of a page, Hallmark puts what should have been the intro section at the very bottom of the page. Just an odd way to try to work content into their promotion.

Burger King Adults Meal

Burger King Israel is going there. Yep. Don't let the kids see this one. Just for Valentine's Day, they're offering an Adults Meal. It comes with two Whoppers (insert your own joke here), two orders of French fries, two beers (fitting), and...a romantic ADULT TOY! Because nothing says love and romance like getting an adult toy from Burger King included with your Valentine's Day dinner. Again, from Burger King. When you care enough to give the very best. Oh, but you can only get after 6pm.

BONUS: The Truly Strange

Netflix’s Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special

I don’t know where Cupid’s arrow was aiming or where it hit for this one. Michael Bolton plays himself in this Netflix comedy. I can’t do a description justice. You need to watch the trailer below and draw your own conclusions. I’ll be honest…I kind of want to check it out.

What do you think of the content above? Do you have other examples? Share them in the comments below. We’d all love to hear them. Thanks for reading and if you like this post, please share it.